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Geronimo The Alpaca Has Been Killed After Weeks Of Protests

Geronimo The Alpaca Has Been Killed After Weeks Of Protests
2 min read

Geronimo, the alpaca at the centre of an ongoing legal dispute between the government and its owner, has been put down, the government has confirmed.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ordered for the animal to be euthanised after it twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis.

"A court warrant has been used today (Tuesday 31 August) to enter premises for the purposes of removing the bTB-positive alpaca known as ‘Geronimo’," a DEFRA statement said.  

"The infected animal was moved from the premises and euthanised by staff from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) as a necessary measure to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

The impact of bovine tuberculosis costs taxpayers more than £100 million each year, according to DEFRA. 

"In 2020 alone, more than 27,000 cattle had to be slaughtered to curb its spread," the statement added. 

Geronimo's owner, Helen Macdonald, disputed DEFRA's decision and tried to stop it going ahead by taking the department to court. The case received widespread public attention and prompted campaigners to protest at Macdonald's farm in Gloucestershire and in Westminster.

However, her attempts to stop the alpaca being killed were unsuccessful.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "It's obviously highly distressing for someone to lose animals to TB and that's a situation that farmers sadly have to face.

"Our sympathies are with Ms Macdonald and any others that are affected by this terrible disease."

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said said the animal needed to be put down to minimise the spread of bovine tuberculosis, which is "ultimately eradicate the biggest threat to animal health in this country."

She said: "Not only is this essential to protect the livelihoods of our farming industry and rural communities, but it is also necessary avoid more TB cases in humans."

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